History Slam Episode Fifteen: Placing Memory

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By Sean Graham

Over the past few months, the City of Ottawa has started to make progress on its redevelopment of Lansdowne Park. The plans new condos, retail outlets, and major renovations to Frank Claire Stadium in order to welcome a CFL franchise to the capital next spring. The project has been hotly contested, however, with the Friends of Lansdowne taking the city to court over the city’s handling of the bidding process. With construction now underway, opponents see the site as a sign of government abuse and fiscal irresponsibility. For supporters of the plan, however, construction has transformed Lansdowne to a place that signifies progress and revitalization. Regardless of one’s position on the project, Lansdowne is the perfect example of how the meaning associated with places is constantly changing and being reinterpreted.

In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Jim Opp and John C. Walsh of Carleton University about their work Placing Memory and Remembering Place in Canada. What I found particularly interesting about the book was how the ideas and concepts are at work in our everyday lives – oftentimes without us being completely conscious of them. We touch on this in the episode and also chat about the meaning of place, the development of collective memory, and what it’s like to collaborate on a major project.

Sean Graham is a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa where he is currently working on a project that examines the early years of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has previously studied at Nipissing University, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Regina and like any red-blooded Canadian his ultimate dream is to be a curling champion while living on a diet of beer and poutine.

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